Have most of your Goa trips been about partying and clubbing? Well then you’ve surely missed a lot!
So here’s a Goan’s guide to enjoy Goa. This is especially useful if you’re on a family trip or looking to explore the true spirit of Goa.
- Talking about spirit, Goa has an ever festive spirit! As a tourist you can choose to enjoy the Christmas and New year festivities or the year round temple Jatras.
Jatras are annual festivals of temples. Most temples in the towns and cities, here host Jatras which attract a lot of attention especially from the locals, they are lavish festivals where famous classical musicians perform, delicious local dishes are served and people arrive dressed up in the best of their silk decked up in heavy gold and diamond jewelry. Unique rituals are performed at these jatras for example Shantadurga temple at veling recently held a grand abhisheka in honor of the main deity, 1000 silver kalashas were involved in this ritual.
There is a unique concept in Goa- Kul devasthans, also known as family temples. Being Goan I have 3 Kul Devasthans here, these are temples my forefathers served at as priests for generations. Such Temple-Family affiliation ensures that people share a sentiment for their Kul dev (deity) and is a reminder of their Goan roots, no matter where they are settled. This relationship shall continue for posterity. Even now as you enter these temples it seems like time has stood still since centuries.
2. Goan beaches are beautiful, it’s not just the golden sand and blue water but also the cool shacks with local treats and peppy goan music, especially in the evenings when the tide is high, the cool breeze just fills you up with delight. My personal Favorite is the Candolim beach! It is very close to Panaji. The shacks here are good but the main attraction is the walk upto the beach, if you ask the locals they’ll direct you to the market road leading to the beach, it has amazing restaurants and shops. The shops sell a range of stuff right from handicrafts to clothes and accessories! The whole street is so ‘Alive’ with soothing melodies playing around and visitors of different nationalities hanging out. It’s one beach you mustn’t miss!! Another beach to visit is the Baga Beach! You also have exclusive access to private beaches when you stay at hotels like Cidade De Goa and the likes.
3. The Next is Mapusa Market: This is a Hustling Bustling Market selling anything and everything you might want to carry back home, like souvenirs or cakes. I visit this Market to buy Polis. Polis are soft round buns, it is the local bread, there is a whole Poli market, which also offers marzipans and sugar delights during Christmas season. Francis Bakery in Mapusa serves delectable bakery items.
4.Panaji: This is a place I spend Maximum amount of time at
a. It has the best kind of restaurants my personal favorites are :
1. Chilli and Spice at Fidalgo: It serves yummy risottos, Pastas and Iced Teas, the buffet here is to die for, it’s fantastic!!
2. Aunt Maria at Fidalgo: Has delicious bakery items and milkshakes.
d. The festive ferries are popular at Panaji, you can board a carnival ferry or a Casino ferry. Though I’ve mostly been on the Christmas ferries, maybe you can explore the casino ferry and write to me about it!
e. There is Zantye’s Cashews: It is a very popular cashew store offering a range of flavours and types of Cashews.
5. The Nature Freak in you would be pleased to explore the following places:
a. Dudhsagar Waterfalls: The waterfall is 60 km from Panaji, the name implies sea of milk. The story behind this name is interesting, The handmaidens of a beautiful princess ,who had just bathed in the waterfall, shielded the princess from a passerby, by pouring milk from a jug, this milk formed a cascading curtain. The waterfall is majestic and a must visit, there are number of adventure treks leading visitors to Dudhsagar!
b. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary: Dr Salim Ali was a popular Indian ornithologist and naturalist, he was known as the Bird Man Of India. This bird Sanctuary has numerous migratory birds and insect species. It Is an estuarine mangrove habitat.
c. Various adventure groups: There are various adventure groups in Goa, they gather for various activities like spotting exotic snakes, rare frog species and even trekking rough terrains.
Goa is fabulous, it has a lot to offer, it could be your place to search for peace and tranquility at various spiritual and religious centers, or your adventure zone, it could even be your foodie’s den or shopper’s paradise, your tanning destination or land of festivities, I hope this post helped you to look at Goa from a whole new lens, as someplace known for more than its party clubs.
So go ahead book your tickets and have a great vacation!
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